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Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.
but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. The salesman looks stunned. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. He says to the salesman. Without blinking an eyelash now. And based on the way most people view food shopping. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. All this. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. he replies. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . I'm buying from you". correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. of course you're correct. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. No freebies or add-ons. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. I won't accept them. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. whether it is competitive or not. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'.
Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". it's pretty much a one-time investment. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. that you’re NOT that guy. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. and I really can show you how to do it. you probably don't need to clip coupons. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year.000 or more per year. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. I'm being facetious. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. "I'm not poor!" they insist. perhaps. Read. And at the end of the day. week in and week out. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. enjoy. like clockwork. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101.000 or $50. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. If so. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. You see.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. and you’ll get the answer immediately. and happy savings! 5 . But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline.receipts. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. Sure.
Randall Putala Author P. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. 6 . just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.S.
Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I'M CHOOSY. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. I'm too busy. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M IN A HURRY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. AND I'M FRUGAL. advertising campaign. or position on the shelf ). Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. highest price. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. 2. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. Time is not as important to me as saving money. I'll be out of here in no time. 5. I'M LOST. 4. OUT OF MY WAY. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. I've got a family to feed. I'M IN A HURRY. 3. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. AND I'M CHOOSY. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . and pick the cheapest one. LET ME COMPARE. I'd like to save money. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Change your mindset. So do it. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. and you will lower your food costs. Change your mindset. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. Now. Here. 8 . It’s very important.eating better and healthier food than theirs. and you'll lower your food costs. It's that simple. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". please read it again. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. It's that simple. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries.
they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. If this is the case. Everyone is different. Keep your receipts for one month. Uneaten goods. Conversely. 3. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. d. freezer. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. b. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. "there's nothing to eat". This is also known as spending too much on not enough. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). Unhappy campers. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. you may not be making smart choices for your family. You have items that you never seem to run out of. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. or pantry months after the fact. 4. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. and everyone likes different things from time to time. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Insufficient food supply. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. High grocery expenses. c. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable.
Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. so you did. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. but few people notice it. keep reading. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. You're cooking the wrong stuff. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. Excessive leftovers. It just looked good at the time. 6. so you put it in your cart. Steer yourself back to the basics. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Sticker shock. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. You're cooking too much food. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. But something made you want to take that action. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. item by item. (More on this subject later in the book. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Binge snacking. 5. 7. Your cooking proportions are too large. b. and your budget will 10 .
The second choice may seem a little painful at first. 11 .thank you for it. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. you'll all be happier and healthier. the print ads in your magazines. pre-cooked. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. or find a way to buy more for less. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. and even the signs in the grocery store. prebagged. expensive meals. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. though. Wet the potato with running water iii. Make a simple list by category. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. "5 breakfast items". small steps to organize your shopping trips. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. Rest assured. etc. Next. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. 4.these side dishes carefully. you may a problem. all is not lost. 8 minutes. Containment is the key word here. START SMALL. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. really. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. etc. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . REALLY. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. write down the steps: i. great. and write down notes for this. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. and stop there. Take really. that will turn out perfectly. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. I'M LOST. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. like "3 meat items". As you master each new step. If this works. If you need more time. Cook for 5 minutes on high. change it to 7 minutes. b. If you are this type of shopper. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. Keep it simple. clip them out and put them in an envelope. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. For example. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. until you get it absolutely right. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work.
000 – $3. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. AND I'M CHEAP.000 raise at work. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. book. and then doing those same things next time you cook. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food.500 or more per year on groceries. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. the more you'll save. down. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. It just takes practice to know what works. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. down. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. chock full of the finest foods in the store. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple.500 – $3. Get cheap. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I'M IN A HURRY. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Some items will be necessities. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. you're ready for the master class.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. 5. The guy in line behind you. and stay cheap. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. down. $60. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document.
and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. and you won't always have a coupon for it. To save money. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. The reason it looks so effortless to them.with better recipes. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. 18 . But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. Learn what works for you. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. If you plan these side dishes carefully. Some items will be necessities. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. is because cooking is really very simple. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. but you can rely on your own notes. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. and stay cheap. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves.
visualize yourself paying $100.. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. Make yourself accept it. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. you've got to be prepared to try new things. Step 6 – Reconsider. Seriously. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Step 4 – Reflect. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while.. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. Step 2 – Believe. Once you can visualize the change you want. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. and what they are doing to your health. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. If you're currently paying $200 per week. and your weight.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Write down how they make you feel. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. If you do what you've always done. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. It can be a big help. you tend to get what you've always gotten. Stand by this realization.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. your mental attitude. Step 5 – Affirm. Step 3 – Be Flexible. If you still don’t understand the connection. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. seek professional counseling.
turn around. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. Take it slow. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. buy it. you must mentally shout out. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. your mind may think of it as a reward. items that cost too much. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. You may be thinking. “STOP!” Reset your mind.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. “I’ve always eaten this. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.” Find a substitute. Step 8 – Record. tofu instead of cheese. Step 7 – Be Humble. your refrigerator and your freezer. and 'do the aisle again. I’ve always been able to afford it. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. Now comes the fun part. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. for the NEW me. Step 10 – Reject. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. and enter a new instruction. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. There's a lot for you to learn about food. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. and if you like it – keep buying it. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family.regarding your shopping habits. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. 20 .
Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. If you're very diligent. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. 21 . get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year.
if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. and more will be given to you over time. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. She's not exactly poor… Smart. and it's your lucky day. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. yes – but not poor. When I go shopping. They are always looking for ways to save. Would you turn it down. 23 . Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. it doesn't matter. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. In fact. save. I feel disappointed. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Love them or hate them. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize.
. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. not me. "A penny saved is a penny earned".000 per year...000 or $3. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. money to blow on a super vacation. When you arrive at this conclusion.. let alone using coupons.! 24 . Benjamin Franklin said it. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. you're very lucky. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. a new hot tub. using coupons is a waste of time. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. let alone shopping for yourself. so take one. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. You probably deserve a break. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. and you really do work every moment of every day. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks.
and it really does stay in your bank account. you write a check for $75. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due.” Okay. “Oh. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. no” you might say. Trust me. Instead.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. It's not rocket science. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. along with the other techniques described in this book. If you use coupons effectively. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. View it however you like. Some are also for 25 . That's real money. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. Yes. great. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. That is a fact. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. even if you use coupons. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash.
. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. and don't use coupons. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. you probably don't need to use coupons. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons.products that are overpriced. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. Then. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. or don't like it. don't need it... when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Smart money management never goes out of style. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. However. need and use every day.. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. But guess what? If you don't want it. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life.
They must replenish the sold product.compound into larger debt over time. the higher the coupon redemption rate. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. using their coupon to buy their product. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. not theirs. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. In fact. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . regardless of who redeems them. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. They want people to try their products. an affluent shopper. higher-priced items. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. Coupons help spur the economy. enjoy the products. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. and that can be very hard to overcome. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. the more products they sell. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). and become repeat customers. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. etc. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. super-premium items. they wouldn't issue the coupons.
new flavors. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. and on and on for years. REALITY: Again. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. etc. And when you go to buy the product again. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. they're actually very smart. So guess what: once you try the product. This is the manufacturer's goal.. They develop new lines of products. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. because they believe that consumers will like them. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. the next time. new combinations.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. packaging. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product.
Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan.MYTH 9: I make a good living. Do you have the very latest clothing. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. it can be fun. $2. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). and save some for your own use. Case closed. or simply don't care about money. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. and a real waste of time. home furnishings. cars. If you are independently wealthy. etc.000 per year. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. couponing is not for you. You’ll feel better about it. Or. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. nickels. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. and couponing is a step in the right direction. 2. give some to charity. you've just lost your vote.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. 3. Save your pennies. At least not the same tomorrow as today. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. you're right: you don't need to save money. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be.000. electronics. 4. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. REALITY: If you do it right. you need to save more money. if you have some other method to earn $1. Examples: 1.000 per year.? If not.
But the ends justify the means.. Yes. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life.you enjoy . You've been buying your favorites your whole life. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. Yes. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. Conversely. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 .. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. you should pursue it. Save money on groceries. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. And for you. because that is what made them rich. couponing takes a little effort. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. you're very lucky.
it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. you'll feel better. and that can be very hard to overcome. they're actually very. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. give it to a real charity. very smart. and so will they. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. If you really don't need to save money. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition.. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. They don’t worry about overcharging you. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. And for you. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. with the best items in their store. They want you in their store. in fact.. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more.larger debt over time. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. 31 .
They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. Learn them. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. If not. 33 . 3.e. up to 50¢. b. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. etc. This is the creation of a PLAN. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season.g. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. and the many rules. i. you WILL save money. Live them. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. (e. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. 20 coupon maximum per visit). then WORK YOUR PLAN. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. leave immediately and find a store that does. 2. STRATEGY. up to 99¢. TACTICS. 1. up to 60¢. This is the actual implementation of the plan.
QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. Coupons are negotiable documents. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon.4. flavors and variations of the product. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . the scanner will catch it instantly. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. They have real value.g. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. HYPER VALUES. or must you buy 2?) 5. 7. Plus. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. If your coupon is expired. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. CLIP EVERYTHING. (can you buy only 1. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes.) 6. especially to the grocer who accepts them. Most coupons are brand specific. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. even low-value coupons. e. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail.
So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. Do it once too often. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. Over the next few weeks. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.. 35 .) As I stated above. they start to appear in stores. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. So you are really attempting to steal from the store.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. If they accept a coupon that is expired. they have no chance of getting credit for it. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon.. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. At some point near the middle of the promotion. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. From that point on. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak.
especially senior citizens and families with children. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. In areas with only marginal competition. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. In areas with high competition. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. or offered as a 'BOGO'. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. 36 . you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. If you were a product manager at the food company. This is when many products are put on special. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper.
although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling.29 on sale $1. But combined with the sale price. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon.59 $2.2. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. More about this later. the net savings effect is multiplied. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. b. IF the store has the item on sale.00 $. Doubling value of the coupon. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. Store sale. It’s true.19 As you can see. Again. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. BEFORE you shop there. The most common level you will find is 50¢.55 $1. which could net out a greater discount for you. but it will pay off big 37 . This will take a little practice. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. When you view the face value of your store coupons.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. If you don't.
This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. EXPIRATION DATE. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. 2. 38 . the lower the coupon value. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. OVERSTOCK. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. Sometimes. Alternatively. the greater the net discount. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1.time in terms of savings.
Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. LOSS LEADER. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. someone can use the second item. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. However.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. and they'll be glad to get it. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. If you were going to buy the item anyway.3. 4. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. This is not always the case. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. If you honestly don't need two of an item. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. Many times they are store-specific. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . they can buy just one and pay half the price. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. do not pass up the BOGO deal. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. It is your right to know. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so.
50¢ off on one box purchase. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.00. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. And 40 .50. To keep senior customers happy. get one free. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. Buy one at $3. for a grand total savings of $4. You have now saved $2.25 per box of cereal. Box.75. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. $2. You have now saved $2.50.25 each. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. regular price $3.75 for one box of cereal. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. $1. 21 oz.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50 for two boxes of cereal.00.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. 21 oz.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. regular price $3. Box. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal.50. 50¢ off on one box purchase.
For example.69 $1. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. Plus. After all. OR. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. systematic couponing. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. a feeling of euphoria and power. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. not Brand B or Brand C. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. If you follow my techniques for regular. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. But as you can see in our example. and they deserve the sale it generates. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. it's the thrill of the hunt. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . and not clip it. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. over and over again.29 50¢ $1.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. You might like the brands you haven't tried. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried.
"Singles". or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. you'd pay about $7. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo.50 per package). Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. They're great for finicky eaters. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. because they often won't scan properly. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. All four are frozen dinners. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation.99 for two (net cost $2. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. For example. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. SIGNS LIE. 42 .99 per individual package. and sign wording. The industry calls these "line extensions".00 extra for the same amount of meat. sign placement. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners.
The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. but it's not on sale now. But you will only be charged for one item.e. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. "that item was on sale last week. SALES CLERKS LIE. 43 .00 on 2". and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. Check the dates first. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. and the coupon will be authorized. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). so you will have technically purchased two. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. And once you've left the store. there is nothing you can do about it. believe what you verify before you check out. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. So don't believe what you see. All of a sudden. i. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. When an item rings up wrong. especially when you know you're right. Do I need two of this item. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. because you must buy two of them." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. they're not so certain. "Save $1. FLYERS LIE. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store.
MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. that is the rule. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this.000 items in the typical grocery store.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. bottle. in the example above. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. It may require a matching purchase. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. If in doubt.00). The same rule applies to flavors. So you must spend $7. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". and paying the regular price for your milk. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. You have to understand that there are over 10. bottle. be sure to read the fine print. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. bottle only. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only.35). bottle. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. the store's 44 . In other words.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. In most cases. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. box of our cereal. For example. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz.
70 in doubled value for these coupons. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. you could get $1. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. In most cases. BONUS BUYS. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. use it.33 per box. IT MUST BE ON SALE. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. typically on a 45 .00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal.00. You'll now be paying $4. It just doesn't get any better than this.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. they offer them at 50% off.50 for the milk. or approximately $1. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. Instead of 99¢. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. plus the cashier will take off the $1. you are now getting the peaches for FREE.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. they're marked down to 50¢. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. You never know until you try. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
Yes.e. You should simply spend the extra $30. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. $5. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. $40. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. the system won't work. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. i.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.e. I'm 50 .
I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. When you have the time. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. it can be embarrassing. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. It's bad form. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. a hobby. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. if you do it knowingly. When it's time to do my sorting. and. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. it can actually be illegal. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. I find that it helps to set a specific time. I use a small wicker basket. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. obviously don't clip that coupon.being sarcastic. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. Canned Goods. Then. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. Dairy. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). It's like anything else – a diet. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION.
Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. it’s just mentally easier. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. when I'm done. Remember. If you follow the expert's advice. Do it the same way each week. For example. meats. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. so I tend to focus on those most of all. Add in your drive time home.& Store Discount categories. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. baked goods.e. Of course. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. Of course. you can develop your own routine. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. etc. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. this doesn't 52 . Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. and do it all at once. and easier to stick to. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. etc. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine.. If you do this. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. bread & cereal is always top right. It's a good thought. Then. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. i. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. even 90 minutes. 60.
MATCH. $1. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. 3. dairy products. With your dollar off. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A.49. It takes a little discipline. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. POCKET. SCAN. And chances are. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. When you have an appealing coupon.49. you'll pay $2. right? WRONG! In this case. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.e. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place.00 off.apply to produce. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. 2. because Brand B is on sale for $2. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. meat and frozen foods for last. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. and that's the place to start shopping first.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. Save the bread. you will find that 53 . the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. As an even better value proposition. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. 4. Plus. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. your net cost of buying it will be $1. and they'll arrive home in much better condition.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time.99. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start.00 off coupon.99. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. i.
because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. Yes. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. Most people are reactive shoppers. And frankly. and used the generic-brand labels. REVIEW. At my local dollar store. I know. They carry lots of 54 . You'll find that in most stores. I prefer the 'baby' peas. which go for about three times the cost of generic. Cook both items. I can assure you. Buy two cans of an identical item. Yes. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. and serve them up in identical dishes. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. They change the labels! If you doubt this. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. they typically won't know the difference. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. they have a great food products section. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. But when they're cooked and on your table. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. they don't shut down the production line.
kitchen select soup. but it's actually very important. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. In fact. POCKET. When you taste the sauce. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. By this. Take soup. Last but not the least. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . flavor. chunky soup. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. But if you try them. MATCH. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. for example. home-style soup. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. Most of the biggest. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. it tastes just like the leading brand. etc. Check the brand name. This may seem like a really dumb step. POCKET the coupon. size. some of them will be downright awful.. as well as the expiration date. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing.condiments and sauces. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. One top brand sells regular soup. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. but in some cases it is.
If you do things the same way each week. and putting them all in one safe secure place. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. I use my left pocket. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. but now it's gone. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. on every shopping trip. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. but that's just a personal preference. Again. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. if I find that I have an expired coupon. they won't be redeemed. and follow it like clockwork. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. Again. Just make sure you have a true system. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. you will systematically save money. And it WILL add up over time. During the course of my shopping trip. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed.when you are buying your groceries. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. you can't REDEEM them. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. Create your own system or use mine.
you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money.. Do things the same way every time. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . similarly. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. In other words. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). Remember. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. and you'll get better at them day after day. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. once you leave the store. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money.. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system.
Do not actually implement this test.S. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Mint. chances are there is one somewhere in your office.. and for shock value. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. Locate a paper shredder. Turn the shredder on. Okay..Chapter 8: The Currency vs. currency is illegal. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill.S. try taking the 'Currency vs. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. (Feels good. Step 5.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. Now. too.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. people! 59 . either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. *NOTE: Destruction of U. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. and one by a food manufacturer.* (Hey wait. Step 1. Step 2. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Step 4. I don’t waste REAL money.!) Step 3. Coupon Litmus Test'. Wake up and smell the mocha java. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. insert the dollar bill into the shredder.
But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. When you think you're getting a $3. It's all just part of the process. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. Then. store sells single item for half the price. and to be perfectly honest with you. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons.59 for it. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. coupon in hand. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. I sometimes get in a hurry. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. Some people say. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. 60 . the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. If this is your situation. you're throwing away cash. or you can revel in the ones that you caught.
Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. As any astute shopper knows. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. SCAN. JOIN. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob.Chapter 9: Clubs. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. 4. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. SHOP. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. You join the club. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. GET ANALYZED. with a price. All of these items feature a barcode. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. the regular price. the club member's price. Here's how these clubs work: 1. 3. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. They will typically show two prices: A. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. and B. Often. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. You must join every club. 2. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. When you go to check out. In most stores. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best.
'2 for $3. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. when the normal price of a single item is $2.000. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. "Big Brother" is alive and well.information is not extremely valuable by itself. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. Of course. You are a powerhouse consumer. For example. so they make the most money off of you. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store.99'. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way.e. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. But as a member of a specific demographic group. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry.19. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold.000 and $80. i. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. let's say that your household income is between $75.
etc. etc. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. Every item in the store carries a product code. slightly more sinister. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. in infinite detail. too. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. The computer knows what every item is. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. let's look at how this happens: 1. Welcome to the Maze. As a club member. you can see it below the barcode on the package. PRODUCT CODE. street address. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. Now. you have to fill out a registration form. You tell them your name. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. children's age. CLUB MEMBER CODE. they are in essence telling the store manager. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. although they will. Guess what product that code 63 . 2. You need to join them. REGISTRATION. you're not too far off the mark. marital status. 3.will pay any cost for a particular item.
so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. The ultimate solution being. SHARED DATA. Scary stuff. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. The information saves them time. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. and sold it for years. but prefer the name brand variety. The computer knows who you are.1 bottles per month. They've picked it. 4. In fact.represents? It's YOU. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'.4 bottle level dropped to 0. does it? No. packaged it. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. Why would they do this to you. the top 1/10th of that 64 . people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. where you live. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. NO. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. in a word. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually.6 that month. no. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. shipped it. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. and what you buy. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again.
The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. but she's doing alright.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. Based on sheer numbers.pyramid is the affluent markets. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. You're part of a larger consumer group. 5. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. if only she would try them. Betty doesn't make a huge income. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. So the kids are happy. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. After all. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. because she's buying 4. but the big family-size boxes. To see how this works. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. not just the wealthiest households. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands.) These values can help Betty really save some cash.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. ZERO 65 . GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. But in my book. every day. you "don't have time" to save money. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. for every item in the store. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. they are in essence telling the store manager. thank you. the bargains are well worth it. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. and they will continue to do it in the future. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. 69 .
You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. You'll get more offers and better values over time. not just the wealthiest households. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. 70 . you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. cell phones and other high-ticket items. HDTV sets. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. Box. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. But coupons are coming your way. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries.O. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. you'll get the card immediately. or a P. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. If you learn how to play their game.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. The sooner you start the process. Of course. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. get a card at the grocery store in that area.
These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. this one technique alone could save you over $1. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. it's the seniors. hard-working youth of America. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. toupee wax. people are definitely creatures of habit. etc. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. When it comes to pharmacies. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. even if you don't normally shop there. It's not always true. when they're 71 . My record on free items is $62 in one month. hair coloring. What is a rebate club? Simply put. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. If you visit 3 stores a month.800 a year. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year.
the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. 2. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. because some manufacturers will offer a $3.00 rebate on a $2.99 rebate for buying it. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. In most drug stores.00 or $3. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. it's really free. Be sure to process your . (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates.00. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1.) 3. a $7. You have to check these carefully. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else.e. In other words. $2. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. i.99 item. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. Apparently. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. but they only tell you this in the fine print. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. REVIEW THE OFFERS.00 off the purchase price of the item. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. Others will be $1. 72 4. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate.
That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . which is the next critical point. What you DON'T want to do is say. exactly the way they say it. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. For most clubs. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. 5. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. if you haven't gotten your rebate. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. The retailers call this "breakage". but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. 6. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. you'll have proof of mailing it in. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. Read the fine print. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. After a few months. or they will refuse it. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. 7.
The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. use it first when making purchases at the store. Plus. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. Proving this would be difficult. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks.within the proper timeframe. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. it's good money management. Plus. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. This may seem like a lot of work. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. then pay any remaining balance with cash. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. So always use the credit before using real cash. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. Using my photocopies. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. 9. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. and you can't turn it in for cash. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. It may seem trivial. 8. CASH SECOND. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. rather than have them issue you a check.
however: • No Doubling. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. I found a $2.) 75 . Alarms will go off. Why is it. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. In most grocery stores. The Most Amazing. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. Sorry – there is no way around this one. The headline read. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items.00 off coupons on several others. Well. You only have to do this once. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it." In checking the other coupons. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.days while your rebate form is being processed.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. that may be a little bit exaggerated. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. So I could easily get a total of $8. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. then. and $1. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. If you are really cash-strapped. Then. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. if you do it right.00 off. (No big deal here. when the rebate check arrives.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do.
at the same time. however. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. this one technique alone could save you over $1. even if you don't normally shop there. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.800 a year. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. If you visit 3 stores a month. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. All that said. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. When the drug store puts out savings like this. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item.• No Price Reductions.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. Saving $8. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.
Remember that this offer gives you back $0. read it. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. 1. Also. 2.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. In this case. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. circling each of the ten on the receipt. assume that their 77 . so this one is obvious. Okay. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. READ THE FINE PRINT. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate.50 per item purchased. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify.
50 $0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.09 $2.50 $0. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places. but they're not shown in the photo.49 $19.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.01) $0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.99 FINAL COST $24.39 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.50 $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.39 $0. To get the maximum value for your effort.59 $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.50 - $2. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.09 $1.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.00) .50 $0. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer. In one example.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer. c. 2) $0.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1.30) $0. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. they're also on sale quite frequently. yogurt drinks.49 $2.00 per can. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.59 Baking Mix $3. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. 3.29 ($0. kids' fruit snacks.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.50 $0.30 ($5. b.89 $2.99 $1.00 ($13. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands. Here's why: a.09 $3. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.50 $0.39 $11.78 Quantity 2 ($0. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.89 $3.39 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.99 $1. The soup line is already heavily couponed. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.00 (qty.50 $1.08 $3.89 Can Green Beans $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.78 $0.30) $0.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.
79 . The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. It doesn't sound like much. you can save an extra $10. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate.As you can see. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. But if you DO make the effort. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete.
Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. spices. and 'brown bags' their lunches. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. 81 . they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. if they are to remain viable and profitable. We're talking about flour. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. or a total of $21. – items they use each and every day.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. let's look at a fictitious family. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items).43 per day on meals. For an example. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. etc. dairy products. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well.500 per year after taxes.
every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. month after month. 82 . the business will fail. reduce or eliminate their savings.43 per day. At a restaurant. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. cancel their insurance. month after month. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. or reduce in one of the other areas. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. the family must do without new clothing.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. Often. At the Jones household. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. the owner doesn't get a paycheck.
let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. get some professional advice. you know. household supplies and personal care items. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. I'm not a doctor. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. Many writers have covered that territory. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. go see your doctor. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. Get larger sizes of items. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. Mom needs a break too. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. 83 . and put a plan in place. and/or kids in school. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. some eggs. that's fine. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. They are: • BUY BIG. The big jar typically contains twice as much. If you want to change your diet. let's leave it at that. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. while paying less for them. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. a social life. That's all. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day.
Stock up when items are on sale. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. plus chopped broccoli. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. Bulgar Wheat. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. 84 . beef. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. Currently. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS.00. stock up & save.00 to $6. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. Sweet Potatoes. Grits. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. etc. pork. if it's available now at half the cost or below. rice and sauce. As long as you will eventually consume the item. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. Again. • BUY BASIC.
except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. sliced . doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. either. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. So overall. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well.One or two garlic cloves. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.Two or three cups of cooked rice . and that's what dinnertime is all about. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. it's an okay meal. because it was chopped. In some cases. savoring the taste. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. cook on low for about 10 minutes.Two or three cups of chopped. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. 85 . and it's ready to serve. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy.1/4 cup of soy sauce .Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. cooked broccoli . but nothing to rave about. the garlic isn't really zingy. chopped . But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. cooked and frozen a long time ago. and they're not idiots. And. . It's sustenance. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen.Various spices in minute amounts . and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge.One or two cooked carrots.
86 . it's made of bread and spices. you can reduce your total cost of food. and they can save you a lot of time. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. or you eat like a church mouse. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. Is it bad stuff? Well. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. many. Just remember this: in most cases. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. or the items you buy are very perishable. so they'll be on hand when you need them. For example. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. and you have a coupon for them. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. the bigger the package. resulting in better quality for less money. IF you were starting from scratch. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. But for everyone / everything else. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. If you are cooking for one.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. And in many cases. the more you will lower your cost of food. buying small makes sense. the lower the cost per serving. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals.
the more you will lower your cost of food. 87 . BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. You'll be investing a little cash now.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. If it's a non-perishable item. grab it. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road.
there are exceptions to every rule. very simple. Granted. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. It rarely needs any improvement. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. Example: a potato. sauté them – you can do a 1. and delicious. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. 89 . fry them. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Example: a tomato. Cook them. and it's wonderful on the palate. whip them. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. simple. It's hard to top perfection. they're tremendous in a million different ways.001 things with a potato. of course.Chapter 14: Real Food. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. Cook it until tender. Yes. With the majority of foods. Don't get me started. Of course. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud.
Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with salsa. Shake some sea salt on the outside. sour cream or plain yogurt. Take a potato. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. I have to use premade mixes. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. and the end results are always perfect.) 2. I want to change the way you think about cooking. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. Poke holes in it with a fork. 90 . Take a taco shell out of the package. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. I don't have time to cook". TACOS. (And by the way. if you approach it correctly. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. And yes.Okay. To make my point. Wash it off. BAKED POTATO. etc. bacon bits. In reality. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. let alone crack open the recipe book. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. butter or butter substitute. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. too. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. you have a valid point. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes.
bowties. If you're constantly stretched for time. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. Not too exciting. (For convenience. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. 5. chop up a tomato. RAMEN NOODLES. The secret to innovative. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements.3. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. Sure.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. It's fast. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. and heat on low for 5 minutes. 91 . You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot.us. To top it. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. it will be good as new. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. 4. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top.grocerysavings. So vary your enhancements. but you only have to stir them once in a while. add a little water. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. and it's very tasty. maybe some squash and carrots. so it's very cheap as well. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. put into a bowl. As I mentioned above. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. whatever. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. RICE WITH VEGGIES. and add that. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. You know what these are. toss in the noodles. When they're done. add some pepper and salt. and they're ready in 3 minutes. Toss them into the finished soup. drain. elbow.
if you approach it correctly. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. If it is. If you start building a list of quick. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. too. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Plus. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. you'll be saving LOTS of money. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. healthier food every day. 92 .experiment. you can cut your food costs in half. and you'll eat better. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. try new things. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. It's hard to top perfection. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. you're doing it wrong! Do it right.
What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. This doesn't have to be expensive.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. nutritious dinner. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. Easy. (HINT: boil a pot of water. and many just about do all the work for you. Heck. Set your timer to 10 minutes. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. two cups of water. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. 93 . the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. easy to remember. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Once you've got your own system down. • If you can learn to make rice. One cup of rice. Stir it once in a while. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. If you're cooking-challenged. cook 'em a few minutes more. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. the rest is a cakewalk.
vegetables. squash – basically any hard vegetable. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. and save. so there's not a lot of clean-up. It’s the ideal cooking helper. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. and your meat will fall off the fork. plug it in. PRESSURE COOKER. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. And the bowl. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. You dump your ingredients in. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. You don't need to watch it. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. stir it or tend to it in any way. Buy a huge bag. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. Plus. garlic. For some reason. cool for 30 minutes. these scare the daylights out of most people. water and salt / pepper in the pot. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. and they'll love you back all the more. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. Peel an onion. scallions. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. The same thing goes for carrots. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. Now. RICE COOKER. It's our job to keep the family happy. kids just love rice. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. press the "chop" button. Plus. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. But hey.
I like to remove them. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. DEEP FRYER. turn up the heat. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. Close the pressure cooker. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Add 3/4 cup water. top with bread crumbs. cauliflower. They'll be fully-cooked. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. But admit your vice and face your fears. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. It's really a great appliance. Now. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. Yes. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. Mix up some tempura batter. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Plus. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic.) Get over the fear. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate.you've ever had. try this. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. and your veggies are ready to serve. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. 95 . it's a nutritional crime. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. tender and ready-to-eat. Yes.
This appliance is indispensable in my household. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. is to make pancakes. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. The #1 use. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. of course.) Grate an onion as well. The result is a flavorful. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. and you don’t skin your knuckles. Plus. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. Oil your griddle lightly.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. hearty breakfast or side dish. 96 . it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries.
The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. Then. heat the glop and dish it up. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. . You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. add the glop. and you 97 .My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Plus. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. – There's no time to cook. . consider the alternative answers. – I'm too busy to shop. Again. and the way you prepare your meals. the recipes you use (or don't use). If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. For everyone else.I hate to cook. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy.I'm too busy to shop.There's no time to cook. .Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Now. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time.
can save time. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. Take it one step at a time. in the interest of saving time. because it's what they've always eaten. they don't expect anything better. and enjoy it a whole lot more. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. I call this QUICK COOKING. To avoid cooking. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. – I hate to cook. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. with almost no additional 98 . because it's all that they know. though. and lower your food costs. It will make your meals extra special. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. simple meals that your family will love. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. They eat what they're given. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. enjoy better meals. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. You might be surprised on this one. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. in this case). add a few pennies worth of spices.
any fresh vegetable Boneless. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian.large drum. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. The chef (or food manager. whatever you choose to cook. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . pull out a pan. delicious recipes.uncooked Oatmeal . dry potato flakes. and how you're doing it. With just a few minutes of planning.investment of your time. Okay. cheese.fresh potato wedges. a vegan or a Venutian. frozen or tube biscuit dough. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . in the case of packaged foods).dry Potatoes .canned Fresh broccoli. turn on the stove. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. rip open a bag. beans. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. etc. etc. For the sake of this discussion. Tomatoes . Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. carrots. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper.
let's look at: a. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. Determine what you have to work with first (i. (more about this later).e. c. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. The way you buy these items. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. what's cheapest / freshest). having them accessible. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. even if 100 . The best way for YOU to cook. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. b. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. The way you plan your menus. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. store. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal.
what's cheapest / freshest).e. 101 . with almost no additional investment of your time.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. Determine what you have to work with first (i. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. you CAN learn to quick fast. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. simple meals that your family will love.
That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. tonight's special will be shrimp. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. or the wholesale meat market. When an item is in abundance. How to Cook Delicious. technically they can. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. If shrimp is on sale. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. Think of your own dining experiences. the fresh seafood market. But that doesn't mean people will pay. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. tonight's special will be flounder. It may be the farmer's market. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. Surely.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals.
lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. 2 parts water. if you like it richer. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. soy sauce. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. To reheat. Let it steam for a few minutes. Microwave for about 3 minutes. 104 . cover and heat. For families on the go. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. and vegetables. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. beef. Sounds pretty easy. chicken bouillon. For fried rice. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove.e. Add a splash of teriyaki. i. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. For egg fu yung. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. in a matter of minutes. Worcestershire sauce. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. nothing could be simpler. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. 2 parts water (or milk. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. sashimi (imitation crab).recipe for rice: 1 part rice. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. Try it. then add your other ingredients. just add a little water. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. Recipes. If your meals are more infrequent. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. saffron or other spices.
they can be a healthy choice too. and they learned many different recipes to add variety.50 for a 5-lb. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. bake. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. etc. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. to make a tasty meal.. bag. Dinner: Serve them baked. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. You can boil. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. mashed. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. etc. cooked broccoli. These additives have 105 . most nutritious foods in the grocery store.00 or $2. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. etc. for variety. Or. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. hot sauce. Again. They're fat free. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. sour cream.. Add a little cheese. of course…). If you're careful about what you put on them. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. and tasty. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. full of fiber. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. Here are a few ideas. Then. bacon bits. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Add cheese. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. They'll only keep for a few days. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. Recipes: Again. chopped scallions.
You're eliminating all of the additives. vegetarian cooking. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. In the summer. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. more food volume. In the south. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. Plus. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. But for busy people they can be an excellent. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. Yes. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. and many ethnic foods from around the world. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. The Irish knew this centuries ago. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety.almost no fat or calories. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil.
feel better. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. fast cook as described above. carrots.than the jars of sauce. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. add a little water. cover with plastic wrap. and other serious diseases. beets. tastiest items you can buy in a store. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. unique taste and nutrients. and enjoy meals more. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. heart disease. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. the more taste it will have. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. put the dish in a microwave. potatoes. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. buy them. and you'll probably pay less. strap a rubber band around the dish. the lighter the seasoning the better. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. and your family will begin to eat healthier. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base.
you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). with some water and simple spices. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. especially when they're 3/$1. . Of course. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. Normally.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. If you're a bacon lover. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. . You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. If you don't like this. The recipe is extremely simple: . 108 . Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. you can always use regular butter or margarine. . Okay. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. as appropriate.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. (Yes. .Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. the bacon bits are a bargain. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish.Put into a big pot.
and in most cases that is all you'll find available. etc.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. Also. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. or freezing some for later. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. margarine. add some white or red wine to the dish. sour cream. • For a little European flair.. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish.Serve and enjoy.) . it just looks better when it's pre-seared. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. Of course. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). To thicken. pork or lamb. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3.) • For meat dishes. add a little milk. SLOWLY add 109 . and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. but if you have cubed beef. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. To reheat. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. • For a cream sauce. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. then add some flour and spices to form a paste.
you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. • To stretch your soup / stew. if 110 . water. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. and excite your family's taste buds. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. You can also make a paste out of flour. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces.00. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. Often. just prior to serving. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. salt and a little baking powder. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household.
That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. so get the bargains whenever you can. all pork comes from a pig. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. As long as you have a method of storing these items. Yes. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others.00 each. Then. Sure. and you can really save. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality.79. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. using a food processor with a grater blade. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so.you don't have a food processor at home. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. you can buy them while they are on sale. Prices these days can change from week to week. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . you can grate Monterrey Jack. Swiss. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. Colby. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand.
What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. thigh sections. Bone-in Chicken Sections. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. But the difference in cost can be significant. breasts with wings attached. The higher up this chain you buy. etc. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes.Skin on Boneless Breasts . flavorful. the less you will pay. the higher the price you pay. Boneless Breasts . here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. 112 . including drumsticks. etc. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. It's all in the cooking process. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. Often. It's messy. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. enjoyable meals. all wings.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . the lower down the chain you buy.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. with all drumsticks. but this is simply not practical for many people. From lowest to highest price. Or.into excellent. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. it takes time. if you're willing to rebag them. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. all bonein breast sections.
Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. the slower it needs to be cooked. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. and surround with cleaned. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. Replace the roast. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. etc. hungry crowd. and bake for about 15 minutes. and look for the best value you can. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. With a pressure cooker. For example. it comes with your pressure cooker. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. which you like. just buy what you prefer. potatoes that I have cooked separately. 2. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. and it will please a huge. 3. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. If you don't have a pressure cooker. salt and shortening). I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. carrots. I add some carrots. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. onions. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. onions. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . celery.
drain it well after cooking. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. 7. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. If you can't wait. 5. 8. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. This way it will tenderize better. but leave the cooker on the burner. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. If you want to serve your family hot. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. And if you don't drain away all the fat. The longer you let the pot sit. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock.like a red sauce. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. salt and pepper. Add about 2 cups of water. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. and it will always come out great. Turn the heat off. so there's no need to worry about your health. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. which will be very evident when you cook it. Regarding chopped or ground beef. let the pressure go down naturally. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. If you can. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. I like to add chopped garlic. 6. 4. the more tender your beef will be. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately.
healthy and flavorful meals. the core element is one or more vegetables. Here are some very simple. the secondary element is rice or other grains. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. Variety is the spice of life. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. beef. rice. If you are typically stressed for time. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. you can make a better sauce 115 . potatoes or other vegetables. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. if you're serving single portions. you can keep your food costs low. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. For vegetarians. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. Then. Once you've mastered these sauces. the secondary element is rice. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. With a little resourcefulness.the higher-priced cuts. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. For meat-eaters. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. potatoes. MARINARA SAUCE. etc. the core element is chicken. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. pork or lamb. You could buy pre-made sauces. If you family is bored with the food you cook. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. Or. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. As mentioned earlier. meats.). and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. noodles.
and you've got a great presentation. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. MUSHROOM SAUCE. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. If your family likes mushrooms. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. stirring constantly. For example. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. then serve over cooked pasta. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. I find that kids like it better without any spices). but if your goal is to impress. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. start on your sauce. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. and when they're almost done. When they are transparent but not browned. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. if available). Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. When the butter 116 . If you like. this will work every time. but it does take extra time…). Yes. CREAM SAUCE. Top with grated cheese. Top with chopped chives for color. start with a small carton of heavy cream. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. but margarine will do). If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. To make a delicious marinara sauce. stirring occasionally. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing.
Heat through. For variety. stews and other recipes. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. ideal for special occasions. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. stir and store. immediately take it off the stove. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. LEMON JUICE. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. Top with grated hard cheese. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. 1 tsp. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil).starts to burn. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low. remove the seeds. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. Parmesan. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . YOGURT SAUCE. PESTO. stirring constantly. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. Pecorino. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. and pour it over your noodles. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. etc. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. Simply add some parsley. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. but do not boil. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth.
stirring constantly. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. ground red pepper. 1 tsp. but it's much better in the long run. on medium heat. 2 tsp. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. minced very fine. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. stirring constantly. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. and add salt & pepper to taste. Stir in a half cup white wine. ground coriander. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. ground cardamom.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. they serve it over chicken and lamb. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. broiled or 118 . Slice 1 lb. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan.) Serve over barbecued. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. then reheat prior to serving. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. vegetables or any core item combination. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. Fry until wilted and pale brown. chopped fresh ginger. 1 tsp. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. from India). stirring constantly. but once you get a craving for it. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). In a clutch. 3 tsp. In India. 2 tsp. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. it will require stirring. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. served as a dipping sauce. Top with grated cheese. typically found in health-food stores. This sauce is a bit exotic. Cook for 10 min. ground fennel. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter.that is sure to impress. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended.
Blend the tastes. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. 1 tbs. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. Mix until blended. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. Soy sauce. 3 tbl. sugar. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. Start with 3 tbl. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. a half tsp. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce). place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. hot chili paste. In a small jar. 1 tbl. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. To make hot oil. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). a hlaf tsp. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. When using. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). then salt. use the oil only and not the peppers. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. vegetable. most people prefer no MSG). cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. They work great. Add 1 tsp. warm water. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. If you like things on the hot side. mix 1 tsp. sugar. (optional. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. HOT CHILI SAUCE. In a small cup.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. ginger.fried chicken. Soy sauce. olive oil and beat 119 . if desired. of sugar. If you are cheap like me. 1 tbl. finely-chopped ginger. Add chopped garlic. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. or more hot oil (see below). or your choice of core ingredient. half tsp. 1 tsp. salt & pepper to taste. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients.
white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 tsp. each of cayenne pepper. Simmer until thickened. Louisiana hot sauce. 2 tsp. These are but a few of the many. In a small saucepan. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. ideal over seafood. Whisk until blended.vigorously. Add 1 tsp. 1 tsp. In a small cup. Worcestershire sauce. salt. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. 3 tbsp. This is also a Cajun recipe. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. lemon juice. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. chopped green onions. dry white wine. 1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp. ketchup. Add 3 tsp. For sheer elegance. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. a dash of hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. 1 tblsp. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. Add salt if desired. beating after each ingredient. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. 120 . many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. 3 tsp. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. Bring to a simmer. minced parsley. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. Add to your list of sauces. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. As you can see. prepared horseradish. 1 tsp. and cooks very quickly. dried oregano and dried thyme. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. Blend in 2 tsp. MEUNIERE SAUCE. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened.
and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. Often. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. as long as you have a method of storing these items. If your family is bored with the food you cook.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. Prices these days can change from week to week. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. But the difference in cost can be significant. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. and excite your family's taste buds. The higher up this chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. more food volume. so get the bargains whenever you can. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. you need to buy them while they are on sale. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. the less you will pay. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. the lower down the chain that you buy. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. or a few pennies worth of seasoning.
potatoes. you can keep your food costs low. noodles. etc.).can make meals new & exciting again. 122 . And by using core ingredients as the base (rice.
and serve in a glass with ice. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. You can make them at home using a blender. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. • Kids love slushees. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. or if you just don't like them. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive.50. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. 123 . • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. buy the quart. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory.00 or more at the burger joints. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. Choose the storebrand. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. And in many cases. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". We use the sugar-free varieties. but they cost $1. but it can also be very expensive. some ice. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. $2.
If you want to implement portion control. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. if it’s an item you buy every month. Now. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. Plus. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. but lower your total food bill. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. If you are super-diligent about this. melt one edge to seal it in the machine.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. by weight. Does it make a difference? Well. • If you give your kids snacks for school. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. You know. You'll accomplish the same goal. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. With one of these machines. 124 . you cut off a section of pouch material. they cost about half as much. The net result: one 5 lb. purchase can last for a full month. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. here’s the advantage. fill it with your food. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet.
one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. For example. this stuff won't go bad.. oven cleaner. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. vinegar. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. etc. rubbing alcohol.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. Many of these items such as window-washing solution.. • Shop at the dollar stores. It should make you feel smarter. bathroom cleaner. buy the big container and use a coupon. baking soda. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood.. etc. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . ammonia. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. dishwasher soap. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. etc. This same type of product. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. can be made out of a combination of water. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. the need to clean.. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff.
And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. Helping to provide a 126 . You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. With this program. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. The program costs you nothing extra. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. When you see bargains like this. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Our furry friends need help. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them.
QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. you're not using the system correctly. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. Rather than sacrifice quality. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. Of course. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. what's the point? Life is too short. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. 127 . you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. If you follow the methods outlined in this book.
BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. 128 . You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. or if you are especially resourceful.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. You can use plastic bags.
) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area.the coupon: 1. I tend to be cynical. but you currently use a competing brand. How do I know this? Recently. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. This way. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. but it sure appeared to me that the food . so I logged out and logged back in again.” I discovered something surprising about this. Just to see what would happen. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. (techie note only. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. ignore this if you find it confusing. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. I thought it was an error.
CoolSavings. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .25 ($1.29 minus $0.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. On a recent visit. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. Here are some coupon sites to visit. Eversave. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance.65 ($1. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages.com.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. magazines. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. medicine.29 per box $0.com. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. etc.
This site offers pre-clipped coupons.com. plus a 50¢ administration fee. Plus. CentsOff.com.OnlineCoupons. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands.A. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. Coupons. This site is well organized. This site requires you to register with minimal information. then pay an additional $8.50 fee to join.com. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. you can stock up on the specific coupon. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. Plus. This site requires that you pay a $7. the Baltimore Sun. On this site. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. There is a $99. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. but you do pay for each coupon.com. Thecouponclippers. it displays the specific coupons available by category. personal and cleaning products and more. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. you don’t pay an annual fee. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. and you get to choose by specific brand names. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. But overall. Here. You can order multiples of the same coupon.com. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. gourmet food items.95 annual fee however. Times. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. up until the expiration date of the coupon. you can plan your savings over time. etc. so you will be directed here from many other sites..
I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. shopping. 133 . It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term.us. however.com.com. entertainment. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. etc. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. so I really can’t toot my own horn. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching.Troop or church social group. many leading to the sites listed above. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. Thefrugalshopper. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country.S. MyClipper. Plus. This is the author’s web site. rebates and regional offers posted here. There are no grocery coupons on this site. The site simply links to EverSave. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. But visit it. too! Fatwallet.000 friends to ask advice from. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge.com. and see what you think. As posted on their site. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries.com for grocery discounts. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons." GroceryDiscounts. The food industry giants monitor this site. Plus. It's like having 230. value and guidance.
you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. Plus. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. and make a new friend. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Chances are. Knowledge = cash savings for you. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. 134 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals.
This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. Shelf Surfing. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. they're 135 . But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. When you're not moving. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. one way or another. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". Okay. So if you see someone lurking nearby. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. be aware of where you left your cart. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. It was Honore De Balzac who said. As it often goes with Murphy's Law.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. Similarly. Cart Courtesy. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line.
Instead of. try. apologize. she’s there to help you. So make your choice and move on. trying to make it through their shift. as well. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. if you’re wrong. If you have a discrepancy on a price. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. They’re just people. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. So give her a break. Cashier Courtesy. And. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. 136 . Plus. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered.probably waiting for you to move. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. Plus. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. you can accept your error. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. they’ll never let you live it down. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. as will your cashier. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). So give them a break. Plus... and simply walk away from the service counter. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. like you and me. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off.
walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. 137 . it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. Instead.
99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. In other words. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. for example. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. regular price $7. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. so they don't have to search for the price. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. you can purchase this same item for $3. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. many 139 .Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store.99. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. Let’s say. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. The bad news is.
Speed Shopping. Make Saving a Habit. when you're reading the Sunday paper. And honestly. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. I locate the sale items. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. you will save money on food. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. You're in a huge rush at 4 p.e. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. i.m. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. In time. 140 . Now. All this is great. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. Most of the time. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. I may find only three or four coupons. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. "Acme Grocery".m. they don't know any other way. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. when you need those three or four items. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store.
write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. parsley. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. If it's defective. Turn this to your advantage. taste horrible. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. nothing is better than fresh basil. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. CRAZY??? No. return it to the store for a new one. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. So it was well worth my time to complain. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. Once in a blue moon. (Is that unethical. he spit it out. If you have a patio or deck. it's nothing like that. Start a Soup Night. thyme. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. and they all spit it out. Try it. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Okay. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. actually. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). etc.00 off coupons for their other products. cilantro. or just not be usable. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1.Never Settle for Poor Quality. If you like gourmet cooking. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 .
It makes a terrific dinner. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. get your money back or get a replacement. using your breadmaker. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. you will habitually save on food. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. If they're defective. 142 . BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations.for ﬁ the price or less. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. By learning how to prepare these items quickly.
and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. Good shopping to you all. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. regardless of how time-challenged you are. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. You don't have to settle for second best. there you have it. You can shop quickly and efficiently. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 .Closing Notes Well. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process.
address.Buy one get one free Catalina .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .manufacturer's coupons CRT .Hope this helps ISO .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .National Brand NBQ .Free Standing inserts.cents off coupon Codes .Cash register tape DCRT. These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper. HBA .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .National Brand Qualifier 144 .Name. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund . zip code NB .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .Manufacturer MFR .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.coupon dispensed at register after purchase. usually has a red border C/O . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Limited.In search of LTD .Manufacturer Money + .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.
sweepstakes form Tear pad .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .Store form SMP .On a single item POP .Try Me Free Triple coupon .while supplies last YMMV .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .No expiration date Nfp . etc) SWEEPS .proof of purchase PP .NED .net weight OAS .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF . any size OSI .Random act of kindness SF .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable. a $1 coupon = $2.Universal Product Code WSL .) 145 .purchase price PPHF .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .a coupon that is good on one purchase.Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.specially marked packages SS .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.
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How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. and Allied Graphic Arts. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER.40% . this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis.000 to $5. . Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. FKB Group PLC. retailers and financial institutions. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Discover the system that can save you 30% .even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. That’s at least $1.000 per year. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week.